Fisheries Program


Our fisheries researchers are world-class scientists. They conduct cutting-edge research to provide fisheries resource managers the scientific information they need to protect, restore, and enhance our Nation’s fisheries and their habitats.

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Imperiled Species Research

Imperiled Species Research

Forty percent of all fish species in North America are at risk of extinction. USGS research is crucial to protect and manage at-risk species and healthy fish populations into the future.

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Drought and Ecological Flows

Drought and Ecological Flows

As part of the USGS Fisheries program, ecological flows, or the relationships between quality, quantity, and timing of water flows and ecological response of aquatic biota and ecosystems; and related ecosystem services are being investigated.

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View Our Fisheries Research

View Our Fisheries Research

USGS scientists study life history, population ecology, and conservation and restoration strategies for aquatic species and the habitats that sustain them.

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Date published: April 30, 2021

Media Alert: Portions of Missouri River to change color temporarily as USGS releases dye to study endangered pallid sturgeon

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct a dye-trace assessment. For a few hours during this research, several miles of the Missouri river will appear reddish due to non-toxic dye. The red color will dissipate rapidly and will disappear after it travels several miles downstream. During the study, USGS will deploy several boats on the river to monitor how and where the dye moves

Date published: April 7, 2021

USGS, Southern Illinois University researchers advance genome mapping for critically-endangered sturgeon

This scientific advancement can lead to the development of new genetic markers that will help scientists distinguish between pallid sturgeon and the shovelnose sturgeon, another sturgeon species that looks similar but is more common.

Date published: March 13, 2017

Water managers explore new strategies to protect fish in California’s Bay Delta

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.


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Year Published: 2021

Behavior and movement of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the forebay of Bonneville Dam, Columbia River, August–December 2020

A telemetry study was conducted during August–December 2020 to evaluate behavior and movement patterns of adult smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the forebay of Bonneville Dam, Washington. A total of 40 smallmouth bass were collected, tagged, and released during August–September in seven distinct areas of the dam forebay and monitored...

Kock, Tobias J.; Hansen, Gabriel S.; Evans, Scott D.
Kock, T.J., Hansen, G.S., and Evans, S.D., 2021, Behavior and movement of smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the forebay of Bonneville Dam, Columbia River, August–December 2020: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1099, 13 p.,

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Year Published: 2021

Ontogeny of eDNA shedding during early development in Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Knowledge of the timing of major life history events in aquatic species is important for informing conservation and resource management planning. Accordingly, surveys of environmental DNA (eDNA) have been performed to determine the efficacy of eDNA for providing information on life history events, primarily focusing on the timing of events...

Ostberg, Carl; Chase, Dorothy M.

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Year Published: 2021

From site to system: Approaches for producing system-wide estimates of fish habitat in large rivers

Worldwide, many productive rivers are dam-regulated and rely on flow management strategies that must balance support of ecological processes with human water use. One component of evaluating this balance is to understand ecological consequences of alternative flow management strategies, which has often been accomplished by coupling population...

Robinson, H.E.; Henderson, Mark J.; Perry, Russell; Goodman, Damon H.; Som, Nicholas A.